Looking for advice on choosing the right business model

I'm faced with a tricky challenge.

I'm working on a new marketplace that connects guest lecturers to universities.

As far as I'm aware, this is the first such marketplace to do this and requires a little bit of education for both sides of the market. This is why it's also slightly tricky come up with a business model as I don't have anything to go by.

I've validated that:

  • This is a problem for universities (have lecturers/professors from different universities signed up).
  • People are interested in guest lecturing at universities.
  • We've done a successfully matching (free, we didn't charge for this).

Where I'm stuck:

  • Business model: There are a few different routes that we could go, ie. SaaS, a job site model (pay per post), email newsletter subscription, a social platform, etc.
  • At the moment, we're running the marketplace via email (I can code, but not that good) and I'm stuck on the business model, which directly impacts what kind of technological solution that we'll bring to the market.

If you have any advice, I'd love to hear it.


  1. 3

    Talk to your target audience, ask how they currently solve that problem with current tools. Study the customer journey, see which end of the marketplace has to have data before the other and start with that one, after you validated your idea with your target users.

    1. 2

      Thank you @MissAna and wise words :)

      I've decided to send out some short email surveys to potential users on both sides of the marketplace - will update this thread if I have interesting findings :)

  2. 2

    Running two sided marketplace is a fun endeavor and applaud you for taking the plunge. The question is which side of the marketplace is it more valuable for and who has the ability to pay.

    • I would always go with a SaaS based model by starting it in a free model and putting up a pay wall once you have enough volume
    • you have to do the work to get one side of the marketplace bulky on your own, I would suggest the guest lecturer side.
    • the other side can then be guided into creating the requirements for the bulky talent available on the lecturer side
    • even if you have to change the business model the marketplace SaaS is what most consumers of the platform are familiar with and can smoothly transition into even if your way of making money is diffferent.

    Happy to chat if you have any other questions.

    1. 1

      Thanks, @manishb01 - at the moment, I'm strongly considering a SaaS model - and I'm working now on collecting feedback on a couple of product variations - once I get more info, then will use this feedback to design the business model.

      The tricky thing, working on which side of the marketplace to charge first - or delving deeper to see if there is something different/unique that I could perhaps do instead that pushes growth.

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